The income tax (I-T) department is plagued with almost 50% shortage of staff in the cadre of the Indian Revenue Service. Of the 1974 posts for the rank of assisstant commissioner of income tax and deputy commissioner across the country, around 850 posts are vacant.
Interestingly, these officials are responsible for collection of over 90% of revenue for the department. Similarly, of the 1,116 posts for the rank of joint commissioner/joint directors of income tax and additional commissioners/additional directors of income tax, around 45-50% of the posts are vacant.
Rajesh Menon, secretary general of the All India Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association told FE that there are 105 vacancies of the 182 posts in Tamil Nadu, 16-17 vacancies of the 38 posts in Orissa and in Mumbai there are 88 vacancies of the 249 posts.
With a high percentage of staff shortage, the existing officials have been given additional charge. Most of these officials have 4-5 years of term with the department. Unable to cope up with the work pressure and workload most of the officials prefer to opt for the voluntary retirement scheme resulting in more vacancies, said Menon.
To add to the woes of the existing officials, another 7,050 posts have been created within the department.
However, senior income tax official declined to comment on the issue.
Further, Menon noted that there have not been either direct recruitments or internal promotions to fill up the vacancies.
In 2003, there were only 58 direct recruitments vis-a-vis 119 internal promotions. In 2002, there were only 59 direct recruitments as against 113 promotions. In 2001 there were only 26 direct recruits. Similarly in 2000 there were hardly 24 direct recruits and in 1999 only 45 direct recruitments in the department, informed Menon.
With one official handling more than one charge, the quality of work is hampered. Besides in places like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, NE regions, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, the officials have to travel not less than 300 to 500 km while handling additional charge. Moreover, the government stands to losing out a major chunk of revenue, added Menon.